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Visual Culture in and out of Crisis

Rutgers University New Brunswick

Thursday October 19 | 12-5pm

Friday October 20 | 9:30a-5pm

Alexander Library Teleconference Room




Vivian Choi is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at St. Olaf College. Her research focuses on the political, environmental, and technological facets of disasters. Her current book project examines the intersections of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the decades-long civil war which ended in 2009 in Sri Lanka. She is currently developing a new project on climate change and sea surface warming in the Indian Ocean basin.

Naminata Diabate is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Cornell University. A scholar of sexuality, race, biopolitics, and postcoloniality, Naminata’s research primarily explores African, African American, Caribbean, and Afro-Hispanic literatures, cultures, and film. Her teaching and research interests focus on forms of gendered, sexual, and racialized agency in oral tradition, film, literary fiction, and audio-visual media. These explorations in Malinke, French, English, and Spanish take the trans African context as their points of departure to make broader contributions to transnational reflections on questions of agency and resistance. Her latest publications include "Genealogies of Desire, Extravagance, and Radical Queerness in Frieda Ekotto's Chuchote Pas Trop" (Research in African Literatures, 2016) and "Women's Naked Protest in Africa: Comparative Literature and Its Futures" (2016). She completed her book manuscript: Naked Agency: Genital Cursing and Biopolitics in Africa, and is currently working on the second book: African Sexualities and Pleasures under Neoliberalism.

Jonathan Echeverri is Assistant Professor at the Universidad de Antioquia, in Medellin, Colombia. He received a PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, Davis. His main topics of interest are movement, value and the audiovisual. Throughout 2016, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Museu Nacional, where he finished a draft of the book manuscript “Errant Journals: Stories of Movement of Africans Waiting to Restart their Journeys in Dakar Senegal and Across the Atlantic.” The book describes the travel stories of Africans whose journeys are interrupted in Dakar and the stories of those who are able to leave Africa and land in South American cities. In 2015, he conducted ethnography and recorded images among Africans that land in Quito, Ecuador. His documentary "The Future is Bright" condenses Ecuadorian and previous ethnographic work in a film narrative. He is currently interested in non-academic languages and their potential for creating with ethnographic inputs.

Paola Gambarota is Associate Professor of Italian at Rutgers University. Her research interests include modern Italian literature; theories of language and nation; prewar European avant-gardes, and film. She is author of Irresistible Signs: The Genius of Language and Italian National Identity (University of Toronto Press, 2011), which won both the MLA Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Publication Award for a Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies and the American Association of Italian Studies Book Prize, as well as Surrealismo in Germania (Campanotto Editore, 1997). She is completing a third book, American Naples: Cross-Cultural Memories of an Occupation, for which she received the American Council of Learned Societies/Burkhardt Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome (2015-2016).

Cristiana Giordano is Associate Professor of Anthropology at UC Davis. Her research addresses the politics of migration in Europe through the lens of ethno-psychiatry and its radical critique of psychiatric, legal, and moral categories of inclusion/exclusion of foreign others. She is the author of Migrants in Translation. Caring and the Logics of Difference in Contemporary Italy (University of California Press, 2014), winner of one of the 2016 Victor Turner Book Prizes. Giordano’s other line of inquiry involves finding new ways of rendering ethnographic material into written texts and/or artistic forms. She explores new ways in which anthropology can contribute to and learn from performative endeavors, such as theater plays and installations.

Patricia Keller is Associate Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature at Cornell University. Her research and teaching interests span the fields of literature, photography, critical theory, political philosophy, cultural studies, cinema and media studies. Her book, Ghostly Landscapes: Film, Photography, and the Aesthetics of Haunting in Contemporary Spanish Culture (University of Toronto Press, 2016), examines the relationship between ideology, spectrality, and visual culture in fascist and post-fascist Spain. She is currently working on a new project, Photography’s Wound: Exposing Belief in Times of Uncertainty, a study of contemporary photography, ethics, and structures of belief. 

Annie McClannahan is Assistant Professor of English at UC Irvine. Her book, Dead Pledges: Debt, Crisis, and 21st Century Culture (Stanford UP, 2016) explores the ways that U.S. culture—from novels and poems to photojournalism and horror movies—has responded to the collapse of the financialized consumer credit economy in 2008. She is also working on two new projects. The first explores discourses of economic stagnation, from classical political economy to Keynesian economics, focusing especially on the return of this anxiety in the post-2008 moment. The second is a cultural history of the rise of microeconomics, taking the measure of microeconomics’ influence on cultural production and critical theory across the long-20th century.

Ara H. Merjian is Associate Professor of Italian Studies at New York University, where he is an affiliate of the Institute of Fine Arts and the Department of Art History, as well as Director of Undergraduate Studies. He is the author of Giorgio de Chirico and the Metaphysical City: Nietzsche, Paris, Modernism (Yale University Press, My 2014), which garnered a College Art Associations Meiss/Mellon’s Author Award, as well as the forthcoming volume, Against the Avant-garde: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Art and Politics, 1960-75, for which he received a Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. His writing has appeared in publications such as Grey Room, Oxford Art Journal, Art in America, The Getty Research Journal, Word & Image, Artforum, and The Brooklyn Rail. He is currently at work on a study of de Chirico's twentieth-century legacies, as well as a volume on the theory of Free-Indirect Style in the practice of painting.

Greg Pierotti is Assistant Professor in the School of Theater, Television, and Film at the University of Arizona. He has taught devising for twenty years and is co-author of The Laramie Project, Laramie 10 Years Later, and The People’s Temple. His current projects are B-More and Apology.

Trinidad Rico is Assistant Professor of Art History and Director of Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies (CHAPS) at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She also holds an honorary senior lecturer position at the Institute of Archaeology of University College London. Dr. Rico's areas of research in critical heritage include risk, ethnography and the vernacularization of heritage discourses and expertise. Her research projects focus on the mobilization of Islamic values in the Arabian Peninsula and the study of heritage and secrecy in South America. In addition to co-editing numerous volumes, she is author of Constructing Destruction: Heritage Narratives in the Tsunami City. UCL Institute of Archaeology Critical Cultural Heritage Series (Routledge, 2016).

Janet Roitman is Professor of Anthropology at the New School of Social Research. Professor Roitman has conducted extensive research in Central Africa, focusing specifically on the borders of Cameroon, Nigeria, the Central African Republic and Chad. Her book, Fiscal Disobedience: An Anthropology of Economic Regulation in Central Africa (Princeton University Press, 2005), is an analysis of the unregulated commerce that transpires on those borders. This research inquires into emergent forms of economic regulation in the region of the Chad Basin and considers consequential transformations in the nature of fiscal relations and citizenship. More generally, her research covers topics of political economy, the anthropology of value, economization, and emergent forms of the political. Her most recent book, entitled Anti-Crisis (Duke UP, 2013) inquires into the status of the concept of crisis in the social sciences.

Andrés Zervigón is Associate Professor of the History of Photography in the Department of Art History at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. He specializes in the history of photography and concentrates his scholarship on the interaction between photographs, film, and fine art. His work generally focuses upon moments in history when these media prove inadequate to their presumed task of representing the visual. In addition to co-editing three volumes on photography, he is the author of Photography and Germany (Reaktion Books, 2017) and John Heartfield and the Agitated Image: Photography, Persuasion, and the Rise of Avant-Garde Photomontage (University of Chicago Press, 2012).

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